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OCR’s Cutest Senior Cat Contest Rules

  1. HOW TO ENTER. To enter the contest, eligible individuals must create and upload a photo (“photo”) of their senior cat (animal should be at least 8 years old, either living or deceased). The photos should be named with the cat’s name and age. All photos must comply with the requirements detailed in Section 3 below. All photos becomes the property of OldCatsRule and will not be returned or acknowledged. Entries must be received by during the contest period.  Limit of one (1) entry per person. Void where prohibited. All entries received by the end of the contest period that are complete, meet the requirements below, and otherwise meet the eligibility and other requirements set forth in these Official Rules will be judged in accordance with the judging criteria in Section 4 below. Entries or any other material documents that are forged, altered, incomplete, or generated by a macro, bot, or other automated means will not be accepted and will be void.

  2. ELIGIBILITY: This contest is open only to legal residents of one (1) of the fifty (50) United States or the District of Columbia and Canada who are at least 18 and the age of majority in the state where they reside at the time of entry.
  3. PHOTO REQUIREMENTS: Photos must meet the following requirements or they will be disqualified:
  • The photo should be submitted in jpeg, TIFF or PNG format.
  • The photo must be submitted through the OldCatsRule contest page on Facebook.
  • The photo must not infringe, misappropriate, or violate any rights of any third party including, without limitation, copyright, trademark, trade secret, or right of privacy or publicity.
  • The photo must not contain any commercial or corporate advertising (including, without limitation, corporate logos, brand names, and slogans), recognizable branded products, artwork or political, personal, or religious statements.
  • The photo must not include information or content that is false, fraudulent, deceptive, misleading, defamatory, threatening, trade libelous, slanderous, libelous, disparaging, unlawfully harassing, profane, obscene, pornographic, hateful, indecent, or injurious to any individual, Sponsor, or any third party.
  • The photo must not contain any harmful or illegal activity or in any way violate any federal, state, or local laws or
  • Entrant agrees that his/her participation in the contest and agreement to these Official Rules. .
  • Entrant agrees to indemnify the Released Parties (defined below) against any and all claims from any third party for any use or reuse of the photo.
    By entering the Contest, each entrant represents and warrants that he or she has obtained all of the rights, licenses, and permissions from each person who appeared in or helped to create the photo Submission and from the locations appearing in the photo Submission. If the same photo is entered in the contest more than once, only the first entry will be eligible. Sponsor reserves the right at its sole discretion to disqualify, decline to display and remove from the Web site any entry or photo that, in its sole discretion, refers, depicts, or in any way reflects negatively upon the Contest, or any other person or entity or does not comply with these requirements or these Official Rules. Photos must be suitable for presentation in a public forum, in the sole determination of the administrator.

  1. SELECTION OF WINNER: Eligible photos will be judged by votes from fellow contest entrants in conjunction with the administrator. If there is a tie, the tie will be broken by the entry with the higher score in the quality of performance category. The winner will be notified that he/she may have won a prize in this contest by mail, telephone or electronic mail (at administrator’s sole discretion) on or about November 29, 2013.
  2. VOTING: Throughout the contest period eligible photos, if any, will be posted for public voting on the web site/blog and possibly other web sites to be determined at the sole discretion of the administrator. Entrant may be disqualified in administrator’s sole discretion if any voting software, macro, bot, or any other automated or improper means is used to vote in the entrant’s favor.
  3. PRIZE:The entrant with the winning photo, subject to verification, will receive the following prize: coupons good for 6 months’ worth of World’s Best Cat Litter.
    If legitimately claimed, the prize will be awarded. All taxes and other expenses not specified herein are the sole responsibility of the winner. No transfers, prize substitutions, or cash redemptions will be made. Administrator reserves the right to substitute the stated prize or portion thereof with another prize or portion thereof of equal or greater value for any reason, including, without limitation, due to the prize unavailability. No more than the stated prize will be awarded.LIMITATIONS OF LIABILITY: EACH ENTRANT AGREES TO RELEASE, HOLD HARMLESS AND INDEMNIFY JUDGES, SPONSOR, ADMINISTRATOR, MOVEMENT PROMOTIONS AND EACH SUCH ENTITY’S PARENT COMPANIES, DIVISIONS, SUBSIDIARIES, AFFILIATES, ADVERTISING, PROMOTION, AND PUBLIC RELATIONS AGENCIES, AND THE RESPECTIVE OFFICERS, DIRECTORS, EMPLOYEES, REPRESENTATIVES AND AGENCIES OF EACH (COLLECTIVELY “RELEASED PARTIES”) FOR ANY LIABILITY WHATSOEVER FOR INJURIES OR DAMAGES OF ANY KIND SUSTAINED IN CONNECTION WITH THE PRIZE, OR ARISING FROM THE USE OF THE WINNER’S NAME OR LIKENESS IN THE OLDCATSRULE BLOG, TWITTER PAGE OR FACEBOOK PAGE, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY INJURY, DAMAGE, DEATH, LOSS, OR ACCIDENT TO PERSON OR PROPERTY. WINNER AGREES THAT THE PRIZE IS PROVIDED AS-IS WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, REPRESENTATION, OR GUARANTEE, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN FACT OR IN LAW, WHETHER NOW KNOWN OR HEREINAFTER ENACTED, RELATIVE TO THE USE OR ENJOYMENT OF THE PRIZE, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, ITS QUALITY, MERCHANTABILITY, OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. FURTHER, NO RESPONSIBILITIES ARE ACCEPTED FOR ANY ADDITIONAL EXPENSES, OMISSIONS, DELAYS, OR RE-ROUTING RESULTING FROM ANY ACTS OF ANY GOVERNMENT OR AUTHORITY.
    I UNDERSTAND THAT I MAY BE WAIVING RIGHTS WITH RESPECT TO CLAIMS THAT ARE AT THIS TIME UNKNOWN OR UNSUSPECTED, AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH SUCH WAIVER, I ACKNOWLEDGE THAT I HAVE READ AND UNDERSTAND, AND HEREBY EXPRESSLY WAIVE, THE BENEFITS OF SECTION 1542 OF THE CIVIL CODE OF CALIFORNIA, AND ANY SIMILAR LAW IN ANY STATE OR TERRITORY, WHICH PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS: “A GENERAL RELEASE DOES NOT EXTEND TO CLAIMS WHICH THE CREDITOR DOES NOT KNOW OR SUSPECT TO EXIST IN HIS OR HER FAVOR AT THE TIME OF EXECUTING THE RELEASE, WHICH IF KNOWN BY HIM OR HER MUST HAVE MATERIALLY AFFECTED HIS OR HER SETTLEMENT WITH THE DEBTOR.
  4. LICENSE:By entering, except where prohibited by law, each entrant grants to Sponsor and its agents and assigns in perpetuity, the absolute right and permission to use, edit, modify, cut, rearrange, add to, delete from, copy, reproduce, translate, separate, dub, adapt, publish, combine with other material, reuse, adapt, and exploit the content of and elements embodied in the Videos, entries, and the entries themselves, in any and all media, including but not limited to digital and electronic media, computer, audio and audiovisual media (whether now existing or hereafter devised), in any language, throughout the world, and in any manner, for trade, advertising, promotional, commercial, or any other purposes without further review, notice, approval, consideration, or compensation. Each entrant agrees that the licensed entities may, but are not required to, attribute a Video to an entrant. Each entrant waives and releases the Released Parties from any and all claims that entrant may now or hereafter have in any jurisdiction based on “moral rights” or “droit moral” or unfair competition with respect to the Released Parties’ exploitation of entries without further notification or compensation to entrants of any kind, and agrees not to instigate, support, maintain, or authorize any action, claim, or lawsuit against the Released Parties and each of their affiliates, licensees, or any other person in connection with this Contest, on the grounds that any use of any entry, or any derivative works, infringe or violate any of entrants rights therein.
    Each entrant acknowledges and agrees that nothing in these Official Rules will require Sponsor to use the Video in part or in whole or to include the Video in any Sponsor-related property, including, without limitation, the OldCatsRule web site or commercials.ADDITIONAL DISCLAIMERS:The Released Parties are not responsible and/or liable for any of the following, whether caused by a Released Party, the entrant, or by human error: any lost, late, incomplete, illegible, mutilated, or misdirected entries or mail or postage-due mail; any error, omission, interruption, defect or delay in transmission or communication; viruses or technical or mechanical malfunctions; interrupted or unavailable cable or satellite systems; errors, typos, or misprints in these Official Rules, in any Contest-related advertisements or other materials; failures of electronic equipment, computer hardware or software; lost or unavailable network connections, or failed, incorrect, incomplete, inaccurate, garbled or delayed electronic communications or entry information.
    Each entrant hereby acknowledges and agrees that the relationship between the entrant and any of the Released Parties is not a confidential, fiduciary, or other special relationship, and that the entrant’s decision to submit the photo for purposes of the Contest does not place any of the Released Parties in a position that is any different from the position held by members of the general public with regard to elements of the photo, other than as set forth in these Official Rules. Each entrant understands and acknowledges that Sponsor has wide access to ideas, designs, and other literary materials, and that new ideas are constantly being submitted to it or being developed by its own employees. Each entrant also acknowledges that many ideas, designs or performance styles may be competitive with, similar to, or identical to the photo and/or each other in idea, performance style, format, or other respects. Each entrant acknowledges and agrees that such entrant will not be entitled to any compensation as a result of Sponsor’s use of any such similar or identical material that has or may come to Sponsor from other sources. Each entrant acknowledges and agrees that Sponsor does not now and shall not have in the future any duty or liability, direct or indirect, vicarious, contributory, or otherwise, with respect to the infringement or protection of the entrant’s copyright in and to the photo or any other materials submitted by entrant. Each entrant acknowledges that, with respect to any claim by entrant relating to or arising out of Sponsor’s actual or alleged exploitation or use of any photo or other material submitted in connection with the Contest, the damage, if any, thereby caused to the applicable entrant will not be irreparable or otherwise sufficient to entitle such entrant to seek injunctive or other equitable relief or in any way enjoin the production, distribution, exhibition, or other exploitation of the OldCatsRule properties or any other production based on or allegedly based on the Video, and entrant’s rights and remedies in any such event shall be strictly limited to the right to recover damages, if any, in an action at law.
  5. GENERAL RULES:By entering the contest, entrants agree to follow and be bound by these Official Rules and the decisions of the Judges, Sponsor, and/or Administrator which are final and binding in all matters relating to the contest. By entering the contest, (except where prohibited by law) each entrant consents to the use of his/her cat’s photo, likeness, biographical data, and/or any information contained in his/her entry in advertising, promotion, and marketing materials throughout the world, including, without limitation, on the internet, by the Sponsor, its agents, licensees, promotional partners, and third party marketing entities, without additional compensation, notice, review, or approval. Failure to comply with these Official Rules may result in disqualification from this contest. Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to void entries of any entrants who Sponsor believes have attempted to tamper with or impair the administration, security, fairness or proper play of this Contest. Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, modify or suspend the Contest for any reason, including, without limitation, if the Contest is not capable of running as planned for any reason, if there is any suspected or actual evidence of electronic or non-electronic tampering with any portion of the Contest, or if technical difficulties compromise the integrity of the Contest. Sponsor may, in its sole discretion, void suspect entries and/or votes that violate these Official Rules. The use of any automated launching or entry software or any other mechanical or electronic means that permits some one to automatically enter or vote repeatedly is prohibited. Sponsor’s failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that or any other provision. In the event there is a discrepancy or inconsistency between disclosures or other statements contained in any Contest materials and the terms and conditions of these Official Rules, these Official Rules will prevail and govern. In the event of a dispute as to the identity of an entrant based on an e-mail address, the entry in question may be disqualified subject to the Judges’ or Sponsor’s sole discretion. Any person who supplies false information, obtains entries by fraudulent means, or is otherwise determined to be in violation of these Official Rules in an attempt to obtain any prize will forfeit any prize won and may be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT TO DAMAGE ANY ONLINE SERVICE OR WEB SITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATIONS OF THE CONTEST VIOLATES CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. IF SUCH AN ATTEMPT IS MADE, ADMINISTRATOR MAY DISQUALIFY ANY PARTICIPANT MAKING SUCH ATTEMPT AND MAY SEEK DAMAGES TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW
  6. DISPUTES/GOVERNING LAW/VENUE:Except where prohibited, as a condition of participating in this contest, each entrant agrees that any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of or connected with this contest, the prize awarded, or the determination of the winner shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action. Further, in any such dispute, under no circumstances will an entrant be permitted to obtain awards for, and hereby waives all rights to claim punitive, incidental or consequential damages, or any other damages, including attorneys’ fees, other than entrant’s actual out-pocket expenses, and entrant further waives all rights to have damages multiplied or increased
    This contest and any dispute arising under or related thereto (whether for breach of contract, tortious conduct or otherwise) will be governed by the laws of the State of New York, without reference to its conflicts of law principles. Any legal actions, suits or proceedings arising out of this contest (whether for breach of contract, tortious conduct or otherwise) will be brought exclusively in the state or federal courts located in New York, N.Y., and each entrant accepts and submits to the personal jurisdiction of these New York courts with respect to any legal actions, suits or proceedings arising out of or related to this contest.
  7. WINNER’S LIST/OFFICIAL RULES: To find out who won, send your request and a legal-size, self-addressed, stamped envelope to: OldCatsRule, 60 West 142nd St., New York, NY 10037. Requests must be received no later than six (3) months following the end of the contest period. For a copy of these official rules, print these rules, or send your request and a legal-size, self-addressed, stamped envelope prior to end of the Contest Period to: OldCatsRule 60 West 142nd St., New York, N.Y. 10037.
  8. SPONSOR:The Administrator of the Contest is OldCatsRule, 60 West 142nd St., New York, NY 10037.

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Yes, It’s Been a While

What can I say? The stress of long-term unemployment has taken a toll. We posts items daily on OCR’s Facebook page but have decided to resume the blog when we find a job.

Thank you for your support and kind words.

Hope to see you soon.

— OCR

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Why Older Cats Are Awesome

Editor’s Note: The following post first appeared in YourDailyCute.com on Sept. 21, 2010 and appears on OCR with the editor’s permission. (Thanks, Dorian!)

Now that the formalities are out of the way, OCR thinks Pimp is another great cat who proves that older is better. A senior cat brings a life of wisdom, acceptance and love — plus a love of cuddling —  to any home they grace.

So without further ado, here is:

Two Cats Tuesday: 7 Things Pimp Taught Me About Why Older Cats are Awesome

(Courtesy YourDailyCute.com)

Happy Two Cats Tuesday, Cuteheads! Today, Pimp is taking the spotlight because he has taught me some very important things through the years about why older cats are fabulous. (Don’t tell him I called him “old!” He’s not old yet, just a little bit on his way…)

Pimp is 11, and every single year he gets better and better. The longer he’s with me, the more love he shows and the more grateful I am that I have him. He’s taught me a lot in his 11 years — a lot of it recently.

I have always adopted kittens, but I’m starting to see why older cats deserve to be adopted, too, and maybe even more. They have so much love left to give. And so without further ado…

The Top 7 Things Pimp Wants You to Know About Older Cats

1. Old men are not dirty.
You know the stereotype about dirty old men? Doesn’t apply to older cats. He knows where his litter box is, and doesn’t need to be taught. He doesn’t raid the garbage can like rambunctious kittens and doesn’t knock over my red wine glass in a fit of flying kitten fur.

2. A little gray is sexy.
Don’t you dare tell Pimp his gray whiskers aren’t sexy. He’s one good lookin’ older dude! Maybe he’s not quite as shiny as he used to be, but he’s just as soft as ever… and just as cute.

3. Good food is one of the most important things in life.
(And so is good wine, but that’s for me, not Pimp. Ahem.) It’s crucial to feed your older cat good food, because their tummies are more sensitive. But seeing how much different food affects Pimp has taught me that even younger cats need good food. You are what you eat… and you want your cat to be good, right?

4. It’s not picky, it’s “particular.”
You don’t need every toy in the world. Just because some new gadget comes out or there’s some fancy new model, it doesn’t mean that what you have isn’t perfectly fine. Some of Pimp’s favorite toys are older than his brother, Moo, and he’d rather play with them than anything new and flashy I get him. He doesn’t ask for much. 🙂

5. A comfy bed is better than any flashy toy.
Adding to #4, older cats realize that there are more important things than how many toys are in your toy basket. I used to get Pimp mice every year for his birthday, and he loved them, but lately I’ve gotten him things to make him comfy — and he uses them way more than all his toys combined! Soft beds = 20 hours a day. Fun toys = 30 minutes. (Don’t worry, he still gets tons of toys!)

6. Peace and quiet is underrated.
Pimpy says relax. Older cats are content to just lie around, lounge and not create too much ruckus. You don’t have to entertain them (or else lose your nice curtains or favorite vase) and you don’t have to babysit them like kittens. They are easy and content to “just be”… so you can just be, too.

7. Love never stops growing.
Sure, your older cat may be done growing, and may actually be shrinking a little instead, but their heart somehow keeps expanding with more and more love. When Pimp looks at me, it’s with such love and adoration, and such happiness and sweetness. He knows he’s loved and he’ll always be taken good care of. He knows I’ll do whatever I can for him, for as long as he needs it. And he knows how lucky he is.

Older cats are extremely special. They often easily adjust to your home and don’t cause much trouble. If you have the room in your home and your heart, why not take a look at some of the senior pets in your area that need homes and go adopt one today. (Or tomorrow, Cute knows you may need a day to get their comfy bed and good food ready…)

Sure, they may need some extra care as they age (For the record – Pimp is going to live forever. I’ve already informed him of this.), but the love you’ll get in return and the fulfilling, incredible feeling you’ll get from taking care of them will give you a ton of joy.

Think of your grandma or grandpa — you would want them to be happy and comfortable in their sunset years, right? Older pets should have the same luxury!

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The Meaning of Meow

Editor’s Note: please welcome Heather Green to OCR. Heather, who has worked as a vet tech and is mom to four cats, will share her thoughts and tips on living the feline life. As we all know, it a cat’s world and they are gracious enough to let us share it.

(courtesy Heather Green)

There is no doubt in my mind that my cats understand every word that comes out of my mouth. I have four of these fuzzy trouble makers and each of them have completely different personalities, some more tolerable than others, but each very unique. I’ve always heard that babies have different cries for when they are hungry, wet, sleepy, etc. and that got me thinking, do cats have different cries for what they want? After much research, I learned that the answer is undoubtedly, yes.

According to any vet, cats are extremely intelligent animals and communicate through cries, actions and even through p-mail (that’s right! if they are peeing outside of the litter box, they are trying to tell you something) So, I did a little experiment of my own and stopped free feeding my kitties for a day. That night, the cries were so loud and distinct, that I HAD to feed them or spend the night in my car. The same went for love. I ignored my persistent fuzzballs for a day or so and by the second night, they were all over me, meowing, short, sporadic meows for attention. It’s truly amazing that as unassuming as the feline is, they are silently demanding and easy to understand.

When my youngest cat was had a urinary tract infection, he started peeing in our hallway, where traffic was high and he knew I’d see it. As frustrating as that was, I got the message and got him help quickly so he wouldn’t do it again! When the litter box is a little too full, I get the message with surprises just outside of it, letting me know it is time to clean! Oh the joy of these particular little beasts!

The cat’s meow is different with each thing they crave. When I talk to my son who is only 4 months old, I have noticed recently that the cats start meowing and loving on me. The reason is, that is THEIR voice that I use to communicate with them, too. For years, I have spoken to them in the same sweet tones and they know that I am directing that loving voice at them.

So the next time you wonder if your cat can understand you or if kitty is meowing just to hear themselves talk, know that the cat’s meow is a message made just for you!

Heather Green is a freelance writer and the resident blogger for
and advice on nursing schools . Heather has worked as a vet tech and as a professional pet sitter for 7 years. She shares her home with four cats.

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Teaching an Old Cat to Accept a Newborn

Editor’s Note: Today guest post is from Heather Green, who shares some practical tips for helping cats adjust to a baby.

(courtesy Heather Green)

When I found out that I was pregnant, one of the first things that came to my mind were my four older cats and how they would react to our new addition. After researching how to teach my four-legged babies to love the new life they were about to meet, I learned that it was easier than I thought and that cats are generally accepting of babies without too many obstacles.

How to Begin the Transition

1)    Buy a baby doll. I wanted my fuzzy kids to get used to baby without risking harm to my actual baby, so we brought home the “test” baby before our little guy was born. Loving on our cats while I was holding the baby doll and letting them sniff and get used to the fake baby, helped them to transition and accept a baby in the house.

2)    Give them a little extra attention. While I was holding the baby doll, I would give my kitties extra attention to let them know that just because there was a new member of the family around, didn’t mean that they would be pushed aside. Extra love around baby made them a big fan of this new guy!

3)    Treats, treats and more treats! The same premise as extra love, getting treats around the baby made our cats gladly accept our newborn. Anytime they would sniff or investigate the baby doll, I would give them a treat. This was the best form of love around baby, and everyone knows that the way to a cats heart is undoubtedly through their stomach!

4)    Let them explore. Don’t shoo kitty when they get interested around baby, all of the new toys and furniture! Let them explore, smell and check out this new addition. The more you try to keep a cat away from something, the more determined they are to get their way, so let ’em be nosy!

5)    Expose them to the new smells and sounds of baby ahead of time. Get a tape of baby sounds and play it a few times a day so kitty knows that this is the new norm. Put baby lotion and powder on the doll — and even yourself around kitty — so they know that this new baby is part of you and that they will get just as much love, if not more from you than ever!

Heather Green is former veterinarian tech, pet lover and the resident blogger for OnlineNursingDegrees.org, a free informational website offering tips and advice on online nursing colleges

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The Daily Cat: How Minor Cat Health Issues Become Major

From the Editors of The Daily Cat

It might sound like a page out of a spy novel, but your cat is a master of disguise. Unfortunately, this skill isn’t always in your cat’s best interest. That’s because felines are adept at hiding health issues until illnesses can escalate into serious problems.

“It’s the nature of cats,” explains Dr. Eileen R. Adamo, DVM, who runs a felines-only practice in Penfield, N.Y. “They kind of put on a good face, show they’re fine. They are masters of hiding illness and pain.”

Your cat disguises its aches and pains because showing weakness would have made its feline ancestors more vulnerable in the wild, Dr. Adamo says. Your kitty will be vulnerable, as well, if you don’t pay attention to health warning signs. It’s important to recognize when outwardly minor symptoms could indicate a more significant, underlying problem.

“You have to be super sensitive to any change,” Dr. Adamo advises. Here are warning signs Dr. Adamo and other experts say you should never ignore:

  • Increased vocalization If you’re suddenly holding a pillow over your ears at night because your furry friend is yowling, your cat is actually trying to tell you something. The howling or yowling could be a sign of several health issues, say the experts. For example, a cat that howls at night could have thyroid problems, says Dr. Jessica Stern, DVM, who runs a feline veterinary practice in Columbus, Ohio. Left untreated, hyperthyroidism can affect almost every aspect of a cat’s health and even cause heart problems. If hyperthyroidism is suspected, your veterinarian will likely order blood work and a test to check thyroid-related hormone levels. Among treatment options are medications and surgical removal of the thyroid. Yowling could also be a sign of high blood pressure or even cognitive changes in an older cat, says Dr. Adamo.
  • Changes in litter box behavior If your cat suddenly stops using the litter box to urinate, it could indicate a urinary tract infection or urinary tract disease, says Dr. Stern. Left untreated, some urinary problems can lead to life-threatening obstructions. If you notice that your cat is producing more urine than usual, it could signal the onset of diabetes, hyperthyroidism or chronic progressive kidney disease, says Dr. Adamo. Diabetes can be managed with early detection, and your veterinarian might prescribe oral medications or insulin injections. Progressive kidney disease is a common and serious condition affecting older cats, but treatment plans could slow down the disease’s progression.
  • Bad breath If you catch an unpleasant whiff every time your cat opens its mouth, it’s time for a checkup. Bad breath isn’t the norm for cats. It can be a sign of dental disease, even if your cat is still eating regularly, says Dr. Adamo. “People tend to think, ‘If I had a sore tooth, I wouldn’t want to eat,’” she says. “Cats will find a way to eat even with a sore mouth.” Dental disease can lead to abscesses, bone loss, loose teeth and even infection that can spread to other parts of your cat’s body. Bad breath could also be a warning sign of an oral mass or kidney disease, cautions Dr. Stern. Your veterinarian will likely place your cat under general anesthesia to clean its teeth or perform needed extractions. You can help maintain your cat’s dental health by brushing its teeth with products designed for felines.
  • Vomiting It’s not a pleasant task, but you need to know whether your cat is coughing up hairballs or vomiting. “People are very quick to write off vomiting in cats,” Dr. Adamo says. An occasional hairball with its distinctive tubular shape isn’t usually cause for concern. However, if your cat throws up more than once a month, it’s time to visit your veterinarian, says Dr. Adamo. Increased vomiting can be related to pancreatitis and/or inflammatory bowel disease. Acute pancreatitis may be life threatening, and inflammatory bowel disease is a chronic condition that can require dietary management and anti-inflammatory medication.
  • Dinnertime pickiness Your cat suddenly turns its nose up at its favorite food. Is your friend becoming a demanding gourmand? If your cat walks up to its food dish and then walks away without eating, it could be feeling nauseous, say the experts. Nausea can have many underlying causes, such as liver disease, kidney disease and inflammatory bowel disease. Your veterinarian will evaluate the cause of the nausea and may prescribe medication to relieve the symptoms.
  • Changes in grooming If your kitty isn’t grooming as thoroughly as usual, it could have an endocrine disease, such as feline diabetes or kidney disease, says Dr. Stern. Your cat’s endocrine system includes glands and organs that produce regulating hormones. Problems with the system can affect your kitty’s grooming habits. An unkempt cat might also be suffering from oral discomfort or arthritis, both of which can be eased with proper veterinary care.
  • Social interaction Too often, feline owners attribute their pet’s sudden aloofness to the nature of cats, says Dr. Adamo. “If your cat is dragging itself under the bed, going off into its own area when it normally would be socializing, that’s a big clue,” she says. Your cat might be anxious, stressed or in pain. A visit to your veterinarian can help to determine the cause of your cat’s behavior.

If you notice any of these symptoms or other changes in your cat’s behavior, don’t hesitate, says Dr. Adamo. Either call your veterinarian to ask if a symptom is worth further evaluation or schedule a visit. And don’t feel like you have to diagnose the problem right then and there. “Don’t wait and don’t feel like you’ve got to figure it out,” says Dr. Adamo. “You don’t need to worry about that. We’ll sort that out. That’s what you’re paying me for.”

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The Daily Cat: Blissful Cat/ Cat Product Trends for 2010

From the Editors of The Daily Cat
Fat cats now have a new incentive to exercise: They can work for their kibble. Talk to Me Pet Products has developed the new Talk to Me Rubber Treatball, which owners can use to entice their pets to bat around the ball and chase it for dry food. The ball also plays a 12-second recorded message from you every time kitty swats the toy. “A lot of people have fun with this,” says Mike Sachtleben, the company’s sales manager. “They say things like, ‘Get your ball’ or ‘I love you.'”

The balls, which are priced from $13.99 to $17.99, are among thousands of pet products that will be featured at the American Pet Product Association’s (APPA) Global Pet Expo, March 25-27 in Orlando, Fla. The 2010 show features 750 exhibitors. It is not open to the public, but professional buyers from around the world attend.

Pet Product Spending on the Rise
Although fallout from the worldwide recession continues, the APPA says spending on pet products and services has been on the rise. Many of the purchases come from owners buying “products that allow us to keep our pets well taken care of in spite of our more frantic personal lives,” says APPA President Bob Vetere. “High-tech items like timed feeding, watering devices, electric fences, automatic litter box cleaners and the like allow us to work and keep our pets well.”

Here are three cat products you may want to consider bringing into your home:

1. “Space-age” self-warming bed Now that heated seats are standard in most new cars, it’s only natural that your cat should have a heated cushion of its own. Simple Solution’s Self-Warming Thermal Cat Cushion deploys a “space-age material” that reflects a kitty’s body heat back to the animal. With a plush fur pad cover, the thermal qualities help soothe a cat’s aching bones. It’s perfect for the aged, infirm or just plain spoiled cat. It’s machine-washable too.

2. Stress-relief gel Help your cat survive thunderstorms and other nerve-racking events. Vet’s Best now makes Comfort Calm Gel with a mix of valerian root — which the ancient Greeks used to help calm nerves and sleeplessness — and tryptophan, a well-known calming ingredient. The line of natural products, developed by Dr. Dawn Curie Thomas, a veterinarian, is billed as a healthy way to help care for your cat. According to Thomas, Comfort Calm Gel is a soothing, calming remedy that eases the feline stress of travel, big events and loud noises.

3.  Air purifier Cat allergies are reportedly on the rise. Unlike humans who tend to get runny noses and scratchy throats during allergy season, cat reactions tend to manifest themselves in itchy skin. Some pets scratch so much that they develop sores. But Annette and Mike Uda believe they’ve found a solution for their allergy-afflicted cat, Tasha.

Uda, who works in the indoor air quality control industry, and his wife use powerful, medical-grade ultraviolet light technology and allergen filters to turn homes and professional offices like theirs into safe places for pets. PetAirapy makes portable and stationary heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems starting at $395. “I think this is going to be a major breakthrough in the industry,” says Annette. “There’s nothing out there right now to treat pet allergies except to give them medicine.”

The fact that we spend more on such pet products these days is a continuation of efforts to “humanize” our pets. Vetere explains, “When we have a pet we can come home to who loves us unconditionally, never complains or has a bad thing to say, we want to tell them thank you.” You can thank your own cat with one of the mentioned products, which will be in pet stores soon, following the Global Pet Expo.

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